The Opening: Final Word - Ranking U-M Targets

In our final piece on Nike's the Opening we rank all of the Michigan targets in attendance, 1-13 while also adding commentary from a number of FOXSportsNEXT analysts.

1.) George Campbell – There may not have been a better athlete in attendance than this Sunshine State star. Two sub 4.4 forty times and a 37-inch vertical, both while checking in at 6-3.5, 185 lbs.  Add in the fact that he is a full year younger than most of the other prospects in attendance and the aforementioned athletic feats were rendered even more impressive.  Unfortunately he wasn’t able to put that talent to much use in the 7-on-7 portion of the event, but that was largely due to the fact that he was paired with quarterbacks that generally didn’t look for him and/or couldn’t get the ball to him when they did.  That said, it was evident during the NFTC on day one that he is still honing his receiver skills (i.e. running crisper routes and not fighting the ball at times), but with two full years of high school left he has plenty of time to do just that.  It seemed like a vast overstatement when FOX Sports Next analyst Geoff Vogt compared Campbell to Calvin Johnson when asked to describe Campbell’s physical ability.  While it is amazingly premature to suggest that Campbell will be the next “Megatron”, Vogt’s comparison to the Detroit Lions star’s athleticism at the same stage of development (i.e. as a high school junior) doesn’t seem so far-fetched now. 

SPARQ Scores
HT: 6-3.5
WT: 185
40: 4.36
Shuttle: 4.12
Powerball: 33
Vertical: 37
SPARQ Rating: 115.56

2.) Adoree Jackson -  This five star corner showed that he can run with practically anyone, but his size and offensive dynamism always leaves one wondering if his best days won’t be best spent running routes as opposed to defending them.  “He was doing more damage on offense than defense but had a pic six (on day two),” said FOX Sports Next analyst Greg Biggins.  “He’s a hyper athletic playmaker.  He’s an incredibly skilled kid who always rises to the level of his competition. He got beat deep a few times at corner trying to jump routes and needs more refinement on his overall technique.”
“Jackson is another two way guy and sometimes I feel he plays a little bored at corner because it comes so easily to him that he rarely gets challenged. That could have played into the 43-6 beatdown his team got in game one, only to go the rest of the tournament without losing another game.  He is so fluid on the field and he has tremendous acceleration. He could be an impact player on either side of the field.”

SPARQ Scores
HT: 5-9.5
WT: 182
40: 4.44
Shuttle: 4.09
Powerball: 39
Vertical: 36.6
SPARQ Rating: 122.7

3.) Juju Smith – The Long Beach Poly star believes his long term potential is highest at defensive back, but Smith has long said his first love is wide receiver.  That showed at The Opening.  “JuJu played exclusively at WR and was dominant,” said Biggins.  “He made plays down the field and in the intermediate part.  He caught the ball very well and was fearless going over the middle of the field.
“Smith is known more locally as a hard hitting safety but he played a ton of receiver and looked very good. Smith caught the ball very well, made plays down the field and wasn’t afraid to go over the middle. Smith has a big frame and uses it well and always runs faster than his 40 time as well. He’s able to create separation and showed he could play on either side of the ball in college”
“He was banged up for much of the weekend, but played in every game at full speed.  We still think he's better suited as a safety in the long run, but could very much be a big-time receiver in college.”

SPARQ Scores
HT: 6-1
WT: 206
40: 4.71
Shuttle: 4.27
Powerball: 34.5
Vertical: 32.7
SPARQ Rating: 94.35

4.) RB Leonard Fournette -- Whether it was in drill work, 7-on-7, or just standing on the sideline, Fournette was one of the most physically put together players at The Opening this year. Already boasting the size of a "big" college running back, he will fool everyone into believing that power is the only part of his game.  However, watch him in one rep and it's obvious he has a skill set that is very rare for a player of this size. Fournette compares in playing style, attitude, and footwork to incoming Michigan freshman Derrick Green.  That allows him to get in and out of holes or around oncoming defenders in a hurry. He was a significant factor in the passing game for his team during 7-on-7 action, running clean routes and catching the ball very well out of the backfield. On one drive Fournette was the focal point for three straight plays, catching a swing pass and turning up field for some yards after catch, then taking two handoffs in a row, juking and dancing through defenders before finally being touched down. If he can make people miss like that without pads, what'll happen in the fall when pads do come on and he can also bounce off people or run through them as well?

SPARQ Scores
HT: 6-1
WT: 226
40: N/A
Shuttle: 4.3
Powerball: 38.5
Vertical: 29.9
SPARQ Rating: N/A

5.) Da'Shawn Hand – This talented youngster is used to being higher on such lists, but as has been written ad nauseam, Hand didn’t have his best day.  He had set the performance bar extremely high having dominated virtually every camp he’d attended leading up to the Opening, so when he wasn’t consistently dominant in Oregon eyebrows were raised.  His opposition began winning battles on day two of competition when the pads were strapped on. While the speed and quickness that had allowed him to blow by his  competition during the NFTC  on day one, the size and power of some of the offensive linemen in attendance rose to the fore during one-on-ones in pads on day two.  Early on he was moved off the point of attack by double teams got bent backwards a few times on the pass rush.  But to his credit he got better as the day went on.  He played with better leverage and did a better job of getting off of blocks.  In the end it was one of day after nearly two straight years of exemplary ones.  He is still an elite prospect with the potential to be a dominating force at the next level.  All his performance at the Opening showed was the need for him to continue to add weight.  Da’Shawn Hand at 275-280 will be far less susceptible to some of the issues he faced during the opening.

SPARQ Scores
HT: 6-4
WT: 254
40: 4.95
Shuttle: N/A
Powerball: 43
Vertical: 34.9
SPARQ Rating: N/A

6.) Dwight Williams – Few linebackers showed greater range at the Opening than Williams. He certainly caught the attention of FOX Sport Next’s analysts with his penchant for making plays in coverage. “It's not really an event for the linebackers, but Dwight Williams still showed extremely well in pass coverage,” FOX Sports Next’s Scott Kennedy said.  “Linebackers are out of their element when they're not allowed to hit, but Williams still made several plays showing good instincts and closing speed."

“Dwight was very good in coverage and looked line one of the most athletic 'backers in the event,” Biggins added.  “He runs very well, is fluid, and was playing with an aggressive edge to him all week.”

SPARQ Scores
HT: 6-1
WT: 201
40: 4.6
Shuttle: 4.26
Powerball: 38
Vertical: 35.7
SPARQ Rating: 109.47

7.) TE Ian Bunting--For a player that hasn't taken many snaps of varsity football and is still in the early stages of making the transition from big outside receiver to receiving tight end, 2014 Michigan commitment Ian Bunting started slow Monday at The Opening before finishing with a solid performance in Tuesday's action. A full 6-foot-6, but just 223-pounds, Bunting has a massive frame that is sure to add the muscle necessary to play tight end at the college level, but it is apparent that big, strong linebackers can give him fits in press coverage. When Bunting is able to run free he shows improved precision in his short and intermediate routes while still truly excelling on go patterns or deep routes that allow him to get up to full speed and stride through the secondary. Throughout Tuesday's 7-on-7 action, Bunting was targeted on numerous occasions and didn't have one drop, clamping down on the football with his baseball mitt hands. The highlight of his time at The Opening, as well as the most obvious showcase of what his potential could be, came on a deep post pattern over the middle -- Bunting had his man beat with a safety baring down on him as the quarterback released the football but he was able to adjust to it, dive, and make a spectacular catch that set his team up for a touchdown deep in the red zone. Bunting still isn't 100-percent, working his way back from a hamstring issue, but heading into the fall it should be fun to watch the future Wolverine progress.

SPARQ Scores
HT: 6-6
WT: 223
40: 5.0 seconds
Shuttle: 4.44
Powerball: 41
Vertical: 33.8
SPARQ Rating: 101.07

8.) Iman Marshall – the 2015 corner was arguably the most physical corner in attendance, but that wasn’t a surprise.  What was, however, was his football speed and hips.  Were it not for his being sidelined by injury he’d be higher up the list.

SPARQ Scores
HT: 6-0.5
WT: 195
40: 4.68 seconds
Shuttle: N/A
Powerball: 38
Vertical: N/A
SPARQ Rating: N/A

9.) Montae Nicholson – “Nicholson is versatile and could be a very good receiver in college, but his instincts, size and ability to go side-to-sideline give him the potential to be a great safety. He can play offense, but at this point he is a better safety, and that is no slight on his receiving skills. It’s just that he can be that good on defense.”  – Brian Dohn

SPARQ Scores
HT: 6-2
WT: 210
40: 4.6 seconds
Shuttle: 4.28
Powerball: 35
Vertical: 34.3
SPARQ Rating: 102.42

10.) Andrew Williams – Williams is great when he is turned loose and can use his speed and length to pursue the football, but he still has a lot of developing to do. He needs to get better at the point of attack, he needs to play with more intensity, and he needs to get stronger, specifically in the upper-body. – Chad Simmons

SPARQ Scores
HT: 6-4
WT: 251
40: 4.7 seconds
Shuttle: 4.44
Powerball: 43
Vertical: 33.5
SPARQ Rating: 119.22

11.) Nyles Morgan – The Crete Monee star showed impressive lateral quickness for a linebacker his size, but one can’t get the full appreciation for Morgan’s skills at an unpadded event.

SPARQ Scores
HT: 6-1.5
WT: 225
40: 4.79 seconds
Shuttle: 4.46
Powerball: 36
Vertical: 30
SPARQ Rating: 87.66

12.) Richard Yeargin III – If asked to use one word to describe Yeargin, the answer would be huge.  The Sunshine State star is so big that some question whether or not defensive end is his future position.  At linebacker he shows good short area speed and change of direction.  That said he does not possess.

SPARQ Scores
HT: 6-3
WT: 225
40: 4.98 seconds
Shuttle: 4.44
Powerball: 39
Vertical: 30.9
SPARQ Rating: 89.91

13.) Minkah Fitzpatrick – it was a tough week for this rising 2015 CB, as his older opponents used advantages in strength and experience to often get the better of him during 7-on-7.  Fortunately time is truly on his side as he has two years to further his development.

SPARQ Scores
HT: 5-11.5
WT: 183
40: 4.67 seconds
Shuttle: 4.05
Powerball: 34
Vertical: 37.4
SPARQ Rating: 106.26


The Michigan Insider Top Stories